The Brash Billionaire Who Wants to Make Australia Great Again – by Andrew Heathcote and Ed Johnson (Bloomberg News – April 25, 2019)

Half a world from the White House, another big-talking billionaire wants to make his country great again. Clive Palmer, who made his fortune in mining, is running for the Senate on his right-of-center United Australia Party ticket. Billboards of his smiling face and raised thumbs are spread across the country in advance of next month’s election.

The 65-year-old, whose last foray into politics saw his party implode amid infighting and acrimony, has spent more than $30 million — a significant sum in a country with a population less than 25 million — attempting to win influence with an agenda that includes slashing taxes and doing more to tap Australia’s mineral wealth.

While he’s nowhere near as popular as Donald Trump — polls show he’s unlikely to win any lower house seats — Palmer has enough support to influence the crucial swing state of Queensland.

The Australian Financial Review reported Thursday that he struck an alliance with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to work together under Australia’s preferential voting system, a move that could hurt the opposition Labor party’s chances of taking power if the race tightens over the coming three weeks.

Palmer rejects comparisons with the U.S. president, boasting of the large swing that catapulted him into federal parliament in 2013.

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